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  • Courtesy: The Orchard

    Courtesy: The Orchard

    Demon, Polish director Marcin Wrona’s third feature, is an unlikely but entertaining hybrid between a raucous wedding comedy and a brooding horror film. That he managed to pull it off at all is a testament to his talent and unique artistic sensibility. (Sadly, Wrona died of an apparent suicide at age 42 just before the film was set to premiere in Poland last fall.) Those who like their movie genres rigidly defined may be confused by Demon, which isn’t all that scary (or hilarious, for that matter), but the rest of us can appreciate its gorgeously morose ambience; dark, absurdist humor and strong performances.

    Based on Piotr Rowicki’s play Adherence, Demon concerns the laid-back Piotr (Itay Tiran), who has traveled from England to the rural Polish hometown of his fiancée Zaneta (Agnieszka Zulewska), for their wedding. The couple have only known each other for a few weeks, so the groom is meeting her parents for the first time. Piotr already has an easy rapport with Zaneta’s bro-like brother and initially gets along well enough with her jocular father (Andrzej Grabowski). When he begins renovations on the family’s rundown country house where the couple will live, Piotr unearths a pile of human bones and is immediately spooked, especially when he later glimpses what appears to be a female spirit wandering around outside. Soon his sunny personality gives way to sudden dark moods, and his body begins to react (via nosebleeds) to something or someone who is slowly taking him over. The overcast sky erupts and torrential rain begins to fall.

    Courtesy: The Orchard

    Courtesy: The Orchard

    “You seem different,” notes his future brother-in-law right before the wedding, a classic understatement. The ceremony is Catholic, as seem to be most of the guests, except for a Jewish professor who knew Zaneta’s now-deceased grandfather. At the reception, which takes place in a shabby-chic barn, the professor toasts the couple at length, quoting Aristotle. The party-happy guests barely listen to him and heckle another guest who attempts to sing a song. Fueled by alcohol, the music and dancing become wild and celebratory, though a tense atonal soundtrack punctuates the festivities, as Piotr – obsessed with the bones he found – swings back and forth between his genial normal self and a haunted vessel.  As his actions become violent and alarming (Tiran does a great job with the physical manifestations of his character’s state), a humorously philosophical doctor (Adam Woronowicz) and the somewhat detached priest (Cezary Kosiński) are called upon to help figure out the problem. Though various diagnoses are thrown around (food poisoning, drug-induced psychosis), it is the professor who recognizes in Piotr the machinations of a dybbuk, the classic malevolent spirit of Jewish folklore. Zaneta’s mood goes from delirious happiness to pained acceptance.

    Courtesy: The Orchard

    Courtesy: The Orchard

    Even as Piotr’s condition – and the wedding – get out of hand, Zaneta’s perversely cheerful father and steely mother emphatically choose to deny the obvious, and instead concentrate on the continued entertainment of their guests with ramped-up alcohol service. There are equal amounts humor and horror in the contrast between the drunken revelry of the wedding and Piotr’s increasingly volatile state, which eventually comes to a head, as we find out what’s literally gotten into him.

    The wedding was a mass hallucination, declares Piotr’s father-in-law at one point near the end of the movie, and it feels that way for the viewer as well. In this case, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

    Demon opens on Friday at Lincoln Plaza Cinemas and Landmark Sunshine Cinema.

    Marina Zogbi

  • Hello, September! This fall, get ready for Kate Moss, patent leather, platform boots, Ally McBeal-inspired mini-skirts, and “Pretty Woman” style references!

    From Alexander Wang’s Fall/Winter 2016 looks to Thierry Mugler’s 2017 Resort collection, various nods to the 90s are currently trending. Heck, even leggings are back, with Céline creative director Phoebe Philo styling stretchy pants under the label’s latest set of skirts and dresses!

    Here’s a stunning example from Céline Photo: Monica Feudi / Courtesy of Céline


    Gorgeous 90s inspired outerwear to look out for include Isabel Marant’s red, Rock n’ Roll patent leather trench, and Vivenne Westwood’s puffer coat (below).

    But in the world of womenswear, expect lots of style references this upcoming season from that memorable decade. Just this week, we saw the return of Kate Moss as the face of Charlotte Tilbury’s fragrance “Scent of a Dream” (video at bottom), as well as Kenzo World’s send-up to Fatboy Slim’s “Weapon of Choice” music video, directed by Spike Jonze, featuring actress Margaret Qualley.

    Check out this insane video below! 

    And just when you’ve thought you’ve seen enough genuflects to the 90s, there are mini-skirt suits from Alexander Wang à la “Ally McBeal,” and cut-out looks from Thierry Mugler, harkening back to the Julia Roberts classic “Pretty Woman.”  Smells like Teen Sprit? Oh yeah!

    A look from Alexander Wang, Fall/Winter 2016.
    Photo: Yannis Vlamos /

    Thierry Mugler’s 2017 Resort collection Photo: Courtesy of Mugler



    Puffer Coat by Vivenne Westwood Photo: Getty


    Jacqueline Colette Prosper,

  • Is That You? and Fatima, both opening on Friday, explore different kinds of love in very different ways. The first film follows a middle-aged man’s attempt to rekindle a past relationship; the second is a look at an struggling immigrant’s devotion to her children.

    “Dear Rachel: Is that you?,” writes Ronnie (a soulful Alon Aboutboul) to an ex-girlfriend he knew 30 years ago. Though they haven’t been in touch since she left their native Israel for the United States, he thinks about her often. So when he’s fired from his projectionist job and is compensated with plane ticket to America, Ronnie’s path is laid out for him.

    Is That You?, from Israeli filmmaker Dani Menkin (Dolphin Boy, 39 Pounds of Love), is an off-beat drama that makes up for its somewhat ramshackle quality and quirk overload with genuine warmth and nice performances from its leads. Though its motif about trying to reconnect with the past gets a bit repetitive at times, Is That You? is a poetic, not altogether predictable meditation on the theme, an admirable achievement in itself.

    Courtesy of Hey Jude Productions

    Courtesy of Hey Jude Productions

    When Ronnie arrives in upstate New York, he stays with his outgoing car salesman brother, Jacob (Rani Bleier). Coincidentally, Jacob has recently run into Rachel (Suzanne Sadler), who asked about Ronnie. With the help of Jacob’s son, they find several women named Rachel Golan on Facebook and narrow down Ronnie’s search. The couple once made a pact to be together on her 60th birthday, which happens to be in two days. Jacob gives Ronnie a car and the advice, “Sometimes there are dreams against all logic; you just have to make them happen.”

    After an unfruitful visit to Rachel’s old address, Ronnie’s car breaks down. A pixieish young woman named Myla (Naruna Kaplan de Macedo) agrees to help him if she can include him in the documentary she is making about regrets called The Road Not Taken (yes, coincidences abound). He reluctantly agrees and the two pursue several false leads, making a stop at one point to visit Myla’s ailing grandmother, who mistakes Ronnie for someone she once knew, asking him, “Is that you?” Along the way, Myla interviews everyone they encounter, including a cop who pulls them over on the highway. The resulting footage of regular folks speaking honestly about their lives provides some nice interludes.

    Courtesy of Hey Jude Productions

    Courtesy of Hey Jude Productions

    As their road trip continues, Ronnie and Myla’s odd friendship becomes almost uncomfortably affectionate, until we realize it has taken on a father-daughter dynamic. This is confirmed by the revelation of Myla’s personal reasons for making The Road Not Taken, after the two spend an evening drinking at a motel pool.

    Though the last part of the film is a bit drawn out, it is also the most moving, as Ronnie finds what he’s looking for (as does Myla). It’s a satisfying conclusion to a good-hearted film that tackles an issue we’ve all pondered at some point and dares to provide a solid outcome.


    A low-key, slice-of-life movie, Philippe Faucon’s Fatima charts the travails of a divorced, Algerian mother of two teenage daughters living in Lyon, France. Based on Fatima Elayoubi’s collection of autobiographical poems, Fatima stars Soria Zeroual as its stoic title character, a hard-working immigrant who is unwavering in her devotion to studious older daughter Nesrine (Zita Hanrot) and the rebellious Souad (Kenza-Noah Aïche), despite various frustrations. A series of naturalistic vignettes show the escalating struggles and hard-won victories of these characters; it makes for a compelling narrative.

    Courtesy of Kino Lorber

    Courtesy of Kino Lorber

    Early in the film, we see the family dynamic in conversations between Fatima and her daughters: she speaks Arabic and they answer in French. The girls (especially Souad) are acclimated to western life, while the headscarf-wearing Fatima struggles with the language and culture, as well as criticisms from fellow North African women who resent the fact that Nesrine attends college. To support her daughter’s medical studies, Fatima cleans the apartment of a French woman, in addition to her regular job cleaning commercial spaces. Though her employer seems fair enough, Fatima believes the woman is testing her by leaving money unattended. In an earlier incident involving apartment-hunting with Nesrine, Fatima likewise suspected discrimination. As in real life, the answer isn’t always clear.

    The girls’ westernized father, who has remarried, sees them occasionally but is nowhere as involved as Fatima. As the film progresses, arguments escalate between Fatima and the sullen, smart-alecky Souad, with mother warning daughter to cover up and be more careful, so as not to cause talk. Ironically, it’s the more conservative, hard-working Nesrine who is the brunt of gossip among Fatima’s acquaintances.

    Courtesy of Kino Lorber

    Courtesy of Kino Lorber

    After a frustrating parent-teacher meeting, Fatima admits to a co-worker that she feels inadequate due to her limited education. She enrolls in a French class and soon begins speaking the language at home and communicating more to her employer. Meanwhile, Nesrine struggles both with her studies and neighbors who accuse her of snubbing them. A nice-seeming boy flirts with her on the bus but, unlike Souad, she spurns male attention, until her ever-perceptive mother counsels otherwise. As her own stresses build, Fatima describes her life in increasingly poetic entries she writes in a notebook, clearly a crucial outlet.

    Things come to a head as Souad blows up at her mother, Nesrine breaks down over the strain of her studies and the distracted Fatima sustains an injury. Eventually, she finds comfort in a young female doctor to whom she reads one of her poems in its entirety. It’s a surprisingly poignant moment in this straightforward film, which makes it all the more powerful.

    Is That You? opens Friday at Cinema Village; Fatima opens Friday at the Film Society of Lincoln Center.

    Marina Zogbi

  • Moxie & Mojo Designs

    As the Black Rock Desert becomes the palate for artists across the world this coming weekend, most are focused on the massive art installations featured at Burning Man. We’d like to take this opportunity to focus on some of the other creatives who have been inspired by the annual gathering.

    We recently interviewed designer Tina Nichole of Moxie & Mojo, a design house creating exciting, custom eye-wear and other fashionable accessories.

    • Tell us a few things that people should know about you.

    I am also a Life & Leadership Coach and it is the most rewarding career I could have ever imagined.  I see possibility and potential in everyone and everything and am deeply passionate about working with people on their big “impossible” dreams and turning them into a reality.  I don’t believe in impossible.

    My creations are part of me and I can’t force them – if I’m not passionate about it,  it won’t vibe so I create based on what’s inspiring me in the moment and if I’m stuck, I leave the piece until it calls me back to finish it.   I put a tremendous amount of energy into every piece I make.  Moxie & Mojo has been wildly successful since we opened our store just over a year ago and we’ve made a name for ourselves because we create quality products that are incredibly unique.

    • What has been your inspiration for your line Moxie & Mojo?

    Moxie & Mojo was inspired by my own search for embellished goggles to wear at a ceremony on The Playa at the 2014 Burn.  I couldn’t find anything outside of a few steampunk styles and I wanted something in white and more girly.  My girlfriend, Mia, encouraged me to let my inner artist out and give it a go at creating something for myself.  I found very quickly that my inner artist had a VERY loud voice and once that door was opened, there was no stopping me.  Since then I’ve gotten my inspiration from various sources ~ from love, nature, music, memories of experiences and friends.  I see so potential now in things that others might toss out as rubbish.

    Moxie & Mojo Designs

    • What type of materials do you use to produce your product?

    Paints, pigment powders, scraps of material, parts of old jewelry, unique vintage pieces I come across, metal, beads, ribbon, you name it!

    • What’s next for Moxie & Mojo?

    Our 2017 line will include new ways of integrating lights into our current product line along with some new clothing items… I’ve had capes on the brain since I was Elvis for Halloween about a decade ago and at some point in the near future I’d like create capes with a Moxie & Mojo flavor.  There are thousands  of ideas floating around in my mind at any given time so it’s a matter of picking which ones feel right and will push me to grow creatively.

    Moxie & Mojo Designs

    • Where’s the best place to purchase?

    You can go to our website for a full list of items that we have ready for purchase through out Etsy shop “MoxieandMojoFashion” or you can go directly our Etsy store to purchase.  I also do quite a bit of custom work for goggles, hats and respirators for festival season.  I highly encourage people to shop early as each of the pieces I create is one of a kind and only 1 of each is sold.  I like my pieces to be unique to each person.

    • Why is Burning Man important to you?

    It’s a very magical place for so many reasons… even if it’s just one week out of the year where people can let go of their “default world” tendencies and become a little more conscious of being present to the moment,  feeling free, unleashing their creativity and the “radical self reliance” of taking responsibility for yourself in place where there is no running water or grocery stores. You have to get creative to do some of the most basic things out there.  You have to rely on yourself or kindness of strangers… money won’t get you too far but a smile or kind word will… it’s a step in the right direction.  For those who’ve never attended,  do yourself a favor and go at least once and you will experience nothing like it on earth.  I love that people from all walks of life and come from every corner of the world to create temporary and profound works of art and feel like a kid again.  It is “awesome” as defined by the dictionary for certain.

    Moxie & Mojo Designs

    • What’s your favorite thing about San Francisco?

    Do I have to pick just one? Lol.  The people, the food, the beauty, the proximity to mountain biking, wine country, and snowboarding are all contributing factors for sure.  If I had to pick my favorite thing, it would be the acceptance of diversity and creative expression.  Well, that’s two things I suppose… so wrapping into it would be the higher than average level of “open-mindedness” that really makes San Francisco so great in my eyes.  I can wear a tutu to the grocery store on a Tuesday and it’s not considered “bizarre”.  I love that.